Szechuan Style Liang Fen (Cold Noodles)

Liang fen, which is the term for cold noodles that are made not from wheat but rather from rice or bean starches. Sichuan has numerous Liang fen dishes made from sweet potatoes, mung beans, chickpeas and other peas and beans.


  • 1/2 cup mung bean starch
  • 3 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 small, slim garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil (clear, without flakes)
  • 2 tablespoon Zhenjiang black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • scallions, minced
  • peanuts, roasted or fried and smashed into small bits


  • Mix the mung bean starch with 1 cup of the water in a measuring cup with a pour spout until the starch has dissolved.
  • Bring the remaining 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. When it begins to boil, lower heat to medium-low and slowly stream in the mung bean starch slurry while whisking vigorously. The mixture will begin to thicken quickly. After all the slurry is added, cook for about 1 minute longer, whisking continuously so that lumps don't form. Pour and spoon the thick jelly into a 9-inch square cake pan (or similar size bowl) and set it aside to cool and firm up.
  • Press the garlic clove through a press or smash to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Mix the garlic paste with 2 tablespoons water and allow it to sit at room temperature while the noodles cool.
  • When noodles are set, which will probably be within 1 hour, turn them out onto parchment paper or a cutting board. Use a knife to cut the block of jelly into noodle shapes, about 1/4 inch wide and deep and 3 inches long. Or to your desired shape and size! Thin is better, since they don't absorb sauce easily.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl: chili oil, Zhenjiang vinegar, Chinese light soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and garlic water. Stir until slightly emulsified.
  • Pile the noodles nicely in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over them. Garnish with scallions and peanuts and serve at room temperature.